Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 10, 2014
Genomic test to rule out obstructive CAD may reduce need for more invasive diagnostics
A new blood test that detects specific genes activated in individuals with obstructive coronary artery disease could exclude the diagnosis without the need for imaging studies or more invasive tests, reducing health care costs.

Poison Centers benefit patients, reduce medical costs, study finds
Illinois hospitals could save $34.6 million if all poisoning patients admitted received assistance.

PSA-testing and early treatment decreases risk of prostate cancer death
Mortality in prostate cancer is lower in areas with frequent use of PSA testing compared with areas with little testing shows a study published online today in Journal of the National Cancer Institute by researchers from Umea University, Sweden and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y., USA.

US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps, study finds
A new study shows that the use of cocaine dropped by half across the United States from 2006 to 2010, while use of marijuana jumped by more than 30 percent during the period.

Mongol Empire rode wave of mild climate, says study
Researchers studying the rings of ancient trees in mountainous central Mongolia think they may have gotten at the mystery of how small bands of nomadic Mongol horsemen united to conquer much of the world within a span of decades, 800 years ago.

'Death stars' in Orion blast planets before they even form
A team of astronomers from Canada and the United States has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to study the often deadly relationship between highly luminous O-type stars and nearby protostars in the Orion Nebula.

Volcanoes helped species survive ice ages
An international team of researchers has found evidence that the steam and heat from volcanoes and heated rocks allowed many species of plants and animals to survive past ice ages, helping scientists understand how species respond to climate change.

Young skin cancer survivors at risk of other cancers later
Young people who have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer related to sun exposure, under the age of 25, face a higher risk of developing melanoma and other cancers later in life, a UK study has shown.

Bread, cereal drive UK children's high salt diet
Children in London eat an unhealthy amount of salt, with a third of it coming from breads and cereals.

Serpentine ecosystems shed light on the nature of plant adaptation and speciation
Plants living in unusual soils, such as those that are extremely low in essential nutrients, provide insight into the mechanisms of adaptation, natural selection, and endemism.

Computer system simulates the behavior of tax evaders
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona researchers have developed a computer model which, in different situations, simulates the behavior of taxpayers when faced with the possibility of committing tax evasion.

Emergency alert in the cell
Max Planck scientists identify new mechanisms in the cellular stress response.

Predation on invertebrates by woodland salamanders increases carbon capture
Woodland salamanders perform a vital ecological service in American forests by helping to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

Europe must improve its response to the threat of plant pests and diseases
A new report from EASAC warns that new pests and diseases pose a major threat to Europe's environment and food security.

NIH grant to create Center for Excellence for Translational Research at Columbia's CII
W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, has received an award of up to $31 million over a five-year period by NIH to establish the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery under the auspices of a new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases program entitled Centers of Excellence for Translational Research.

Malnourished children are better fed when mothers have network of peers
Women in rural India who participate in a vocational training program learn more than just life skills.

New research shows elevated mercury from in-ground wastewater disposal
As towns across Cape Cod struggle with problems stemming from septic systems, a recent study by a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist focuses on one specific toxic by-product: mercury.

Small biomass power plants could help rural economies, stabilize national power grid, MU study finds
University of Missouri researchers have found that creating a bioenergy grid with these small plants could benefit people in rural areas of the country as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid.

Employers 'routinely discriminating against stammerers'
Employers are routinely discriminating against people who stammer, rejecting them because of concerns about possible negative reactions from customers or team members, new research suggests.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for March 11, 2014
The United States Preventive Services published its final recommendation statement on primary care interventions to prevent or reduce illicit drug and non-medical pharmaceutical use in children and adolescents in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Impersonating poisonous prey
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery -- especially in the predator/prey/poison cycle.

Healthy midlife diet may prevent dementia later
Healthy dietary choices in midlife may prevent dementia in later years, according a doctoral thesis published at the University of Eastern Finland.

Gillian and Hadi spell double tropical trouble around Queensland
On Friday, March 7, there were two tropical lows located east and west of Queensland, Australia.

Study finds pill may represent promising treatment for stubborn blood cancers
A pill that suppresses a key regulator of cancer growth may provide hope to relapsed leukemia and lymphoma patients running out of treatment options for their aggressive, treatment-resistant disease, according to three reports published online today in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Outside the body our memories fail us
New research from Karolinska Institutet and Umea University demonstrates for the first time that there is a close relationship between body perception and the ability to remember.

NASA data shed new light on changing Greenland ice
Research using NASA data is giving new insight into one of the processes causing Greenland's ice sheet to lose mass.

International Space station to beam video via laser back to Earth
A team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science investigation, NASA's first optical communication experiment from the space station, which launches March 16 aboard SpaceX-3.

March/April 2014 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
The tip sheet offers synopsis of original research and commentary published in the March/April 2014 issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Unique individual demonstrates desired immune response to HIV virus
One person's unique ability to fight HIV has provided key insights into an immune response that researchers now hope to trigger with a vaccine, according to findings reported by a team that includes Duke Medicine scientists.

All paths lead to Rome, even the path to condensed matter theory
Italian physicist Carlo Di Castro, professor emeritus at the University of Rome Sapienza, Italy, shares his recollections of how theoretical condensed matter physics developed in Rome, starting in the 1960s.

UV light aids cancer cells that creep along the outside of blood vessels
A new study by UCLA scientists and colleagues adds further proof to earlier findings by Dr.

Shade will be a precious resource to lizards in a warming world
Climate change may even test lizards' famous ability to tolerate and escape the heat -- making habitat protection increasingly vital -- according to a new study by UBC and international biodiversity experts.

Two-dimensional material shows promise for optoelectronics
A team creates LEDs, photovoltaic cells, and light detectors using novel one-molecule-thick material.

Three UTSA College of Sciences faculty honored at AAAS Annual Meeting
UTSA College of Sciences faculty members Andrew Tsin, Garry Cole and Donald Kurtz were honored recently at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

Whitehead named APS Woman Physicist of the Month for March
Lisa Whitehead, assistant professor of physics at University of Houston's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, has been named Woman Physicist of the Month for March by the American Physical Society.

How military changes shaped geopolitics and the fortunes of states and civilizations
The question why Europe performed better and why it emerged ultimately victorious in the competition with other civilizations in the second half of the past millennium puzzles economists, sociologists, historians and the general public.

New sugar-test to reduce false-positive cancer diagnoses
The world's most widespread test for ovarian cancer reports false-positives in 94 of 100 diagnosed cases.

Scientists build thinnest-possible LEDs to be stronger, more energy efficient
University of Washington scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.

Targeted drug may prolong survival of patients with cervical cancer
A new clinical study has found that erlotinib, a targeted antitumor agent, has promising potential to improve treatment for cervical cancer.

Doctors often uncertain in ordering, interpreting lab tests
A survey of primary care physicians suggests they often face uncertainty in ordering and interpreting clinical laboratory tests, and would welcome better electronic clinical decision support tools.

Agroforestry can ensure food security and mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa
Agroforestry can help to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation while at the same time providing livelihoods for poor smallholder farmers in Africa.

A shocking diet
A team of Harvard researchers showed that the commonly found bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris can use natural conductivity to pull electrons from minerals located remotely in soil and sediment while remaining at the surface, where they absorb the sunlight needed to produce energy.

'Older people denied proper access to cancer care' according to Queen's study
Older people are being denied proper access to cancer care, according to a study by Queen's University Belfast academic, professor Mark Lawler of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

Parkinson's disease: Quickly identifying patients at risk of dementia
It may now be possible to identify the first-stage Parkinson's patients who will go on to develop dementia, according to a study conducted at the Institut universitaire de geriatrie de Montreal by Oury Monchi, Ph.D., and his postdoctoral student, Alexandru Hanganu, M.D., Ph.D., both of whom are affiliated with University of Montreal.

Microwave radar monitors sliding slopes
If entire mountain slopes start to slide, danger threatens. It is not always easy to predict and monitor these mass movements.

Early pregnancy alcohol linked to heightened premature and small baby risk
Drinking alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy may heighten the risk of having a premature or unexpectedly small baby, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years
Anthropologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and geneticists at University College London, working in collaboration with archaeologists from Berlin and Kiev, have analyzed ancient DNA from skeletons and found that selection has had a significant effect on the human genome even in the past 5,000 years, resulting in sustained changes to the appearance of people.

Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking
What if the use of a product influenced your perception of it, making you even more susceptible to its positive aspects and altering your understanding of its drawbacks?

NASA satellites eye troublesome Tropical Cyclone Lusi
Tropical Cyclone Lusi has spawned warnings and watches in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Zealand as it moves through the South Pacific Ocean.

New prostate cancer treatment convenient, less expensive, but may be riskier
A faster and less expensive form of radiotherapy for treating prostate cancer may come at a price, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers -- a higher rate of urinary complications.

Healthy eating may reduce the risk of preterm delivery
A diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and some types of fish seems to reduce the risk of preterm delivery.

Claim that raw milk reduces lactose intolerance doesn't pass smell test, study finds
Some sour news for lactose-intolerant people who hoped that raw milk might prove easier to stomach than pasteurized milk: a pilot study from the Stanford University School of Medicine shows little difference in digestibility between the two.

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics announces Andreas C. Dracopoulos Directorship
The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics has marked a major milestone in its history with the endowment of its directorship, made possible by a gift from long-time Berman Institute supporter and board member Andreas C.

New organ transplant strategy aims to better prevent rejection
Organ-transplant recipients often reject donated organs, but a new, two-pronged strategy developed by UC San Francisco researchers to specifically weaken immune responses that target transplanted tissue has shown promise in controlled experiments on mice.

Mapping the behavior of charges in correlated spin-orbit coupled materials
A team of Boston College physicists has mapped the inner atomic workings of a compound within the mysterious class of materials known as spin-orbit Mott insulators.

Therapy for your marriage -- without the therapy
'Reconcilable Differences' was first published to wide acclaim in 2000.

Some characteristics increase the likelihood of getting married and living together
A team of researchers led by University of Miami health economists investigates the personal traits that influence a person's likelihood of entering into a marriage or cohabitating relationship.

Elsevier announces the launch of a new journal: Geoderma Regional
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of a new journal, Geoderma Regional.

LSU research shows face matching for passports and IDs incredibly fallible
New research finds face matching, as when customs agents check passports, to be incredibly fallible, with error rates between 10 and 20 percent under ideal, laboratory-induced conditions, and much worse in more realistic settings.

Turing's theory of chemical morphogenesis validated 60 years after his death
Sixty years after Alan Turing's death, researchers from Brandeis University and the University of Pittsburgh have provided the first experimental evidence that validates Turing's theory of chemical morphogenesis in cell-like structures.

JCI online ahead of print table of contents for March 10, 2014
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers published online, March 10, 2014 in the JCI: 'Identification of a broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibody in a lupus patient,' 'Evaluating disease-associated protein turnover kinetics,' 'Transport properties of pancreatic cancer describe gemcitabine delivery and response,' 'HBS1L-MYB intergenic variants modulate fetal hemoglobin via long-range MYB enhancers,' 'iNKT cells require TSC1 for terminal maturation and effector lineage fate decisions,' and more.

Lawn care practices across the nation vary more than expected
A paper published today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences digs into the concept of the 'Urban Homogenization Hypothesis,' an assumption that urbanization is creating landscapes that are indistinguishable despite regional differences in climate and vegetation.

Where nothing grows anymore
Geographers of the University of Jena are looking into the typical landscape of Tuscany: According to a study published in the science magazine Catena the region known as Crete Senesi with its small peaks characterized by erosion is the result of an intense interplay of the condition of the soil, the vegetation and the land-use.

IBS and bloating: When the gut microbiota gets out of balance
Irritable bowel syndrome belongs to the most widespread diseases in Western countries, causing up to 60 percent of the workload of gastrointestinal physicians.

Emotional expressions in ancient funerary art served as therapy for the bereaved
Emotional expressions on Greek tombstones from the Hellenistic period -- 323-31 B.C.

A tricky balancing act: Antibiotics versus the gut microbiota
Antibiotics are valuable, potentially life-saving tools that have significantly reduced human morbidity and mortality.

Girls born small or underweight twice as likely to be infertile in adulthood
Girls born unexpectedly small or underweight seem to be twice as likely to have fertility problems in adulthood as those of normal size at birth, suggests research published in the online only journal BMJ Open.

Phosphorylation of tau protein in rats subjected to cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury
Phosphorylation of tau protein in rats subjected to cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury.

What's new in autism spectrum disorder? Harvard Review of Psychiatry presents research update
Recent years have seen exciting progress in key areas of research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD): from possible genetic causes, to effective treatments for common symptoms and clinical problems, to promoting success for young people with ASD entering college.

Ecologist to be memorialized with national symposium set for March 20-21
A symposium to honor the late Daniel Goodman, a Montana State University ecologist who died unexpectedly in 2012, will be held March 20-21 at the Museum of the Rockies.

Pretreatment with SSTF prevents hippocampal neuronal apoptosis due to cerebral infarction
Pretreatment with SSTF prevents hippocampal neuronal apoptosis due to cerebral infarction.

Penn researchers model a key breaking point involved in traumatic brain injury
Even the mildest form of a traumatic brain injury, better known as a concussion, can deal permanent, irreparable damage.

A tale of 2 data sets: New DNA analysis strategy helps researchers cut through the dirt
Researchers from Michigan State University, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have published the largest soil DNA sequencing effort to date in PNAS.

Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital have developed a new method for the treatment of phantom limb pain after an amputation.

Diagnosing diseases with smartphones
University of Houston researchers are developing a disease diagnostic system that offers results that could be read using only a smart phone and a $20 lens attachment.

Elsevier announces the launch of OA journal: Colloid and Interface Science Communications
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of the open-access journal Colloid and Interface Science Communications.

UH researcher strengthens link between Quran and Bible
By researching the Quran in Arabic and the four Gospels of the Bible in Aramaic, a language common to most of the Middle East in the 7th century A.D., a University of Houston professor says he has established links between the Quran and the Bible.

More than just bacteria: The importance of microbial diversity in gut health and disease
The gut microbiota contains a vast number of microorganisms from all three domains of life, including bacteria, archaea and fungi, as well as viruses.

Chemical spill activates Virginia Tech engineers in effort to determine long-term effects
Virginia Tech engineers snapped into action when more than 10,000 gallons of a chemical mixture leaked from a storage tank near Charleston, W.Va.

Ben-Gurion U. researchers identify severe genetic disease prevalent in Moroccan Jews
One of every 37 Moroccan Jews carries one of the two mutations and based on the high carrier rate, PCCA2 is the most common severe genetic disease in Moroccan Jews discovered to date.

A signal to spread: Wistar scientists identify potent driver of metastasis
An international team of researchers led by scientists at The Wistar Institute have discovered and defined LIMD2, a protein that can drive metastasis, the process where tumors spread throughout the body.

There is no beating the breathalyzer this St. Patrick's Day (video)
If you're having some drinks this St. Patrick's Day weekend, remember to have a designated driver, otherwise you may end up on the business end of a breathalyzer on the side of the road.

Mecasermin (rh-IGF-1) treatment for Rett Syndrome is safe and well-tolerated
The results from Boston Children's Hospital's Phase 1 human clinical trial in Rett syndrome came out today.

National study reveals urban lawn care habits
What do people living in Boston, Baltimore, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, and Los Angeles have in common?

Lower IQ in teen years increases risk of early-onset dementia
Men who at the age of 18 years have poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or a lower IQ more often suffer from dementia before the age of 60.

2014 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award winners announced
Thirteen graduate students from institutes throughout North America have been chosen to receive the 2014 Harold M.

Moffitt Cancer Center pioneers worldwide standard in diagnosing melanoma
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have been instrumental in making significant improvements to the diagnostic procedure called sentinel node biopsy for melanoma patients and teaching this procedure to physicians from around the world.

Detecting, testing, treating rare diseases: Technology delivers new era of personalization
A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai -- specialists in identifying and treating very rare diseases -- used three innovative tools to detect a previously unknown gene mutation, test potential therapies in the lab, and initiate personalized drug treatment for a boy with a lifelong history of uncontrollable seizures that caused significant impact on his cognitive and social development.

Bending the light with a tiny chip
Traditional projectors -- like those used to project a film or classroom lecture notes -- pass a beam of light through a tiny image, using lenses to map each point of the small picture to corresponding points on a large screen.

Rice synthetic biologists shine light on genetic circuit analysis
In a significant advance for the growing field of synthetic biology, Rice University bioengineers have created a toolkit of genes and hardware that uses colored lights and engineered bacteria to bring both mathematical predictability and cut-and-paste simplicity to the world of genetic circuit design.

Several FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs induce stem cell tumors, perhaps thwarting therapy
In a surprise finding, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard researchers discovered that several chemotherapeutics that do stop fast growing tumors have the opposite effect on stem cells in the same animal, causing them to divide too rapidly.

Feeding gut microbiota: Nutrition and probiotics are key factors for digestive health
A healthy and balanced diet, as well as probiotics, have been known to be helpful in preserving gastrointestinal health for quite a long time.

Beyond the Beach Boys
Long before the Beach Boys made 'Surfin' USA' a 1960s national anthem and helped the surf music genre earn its own category in record stores, surfing music was riding the waves in its native Hawaii. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to